Longtime readers will remember that my mom loves Keane. So who else could I take to the Keane show at Radio City tonight but my mommy dearest? The show, with its long set, and multiple (two) encores clocked it at nearly one hour and a half long—that’s 90 minutes of sheer happiness for my mom.
I’ll admit, there’s a bit of a twinge of teenage angst that goes along with bringing Mom to a concert—especially when my mom starts to dance along to the music (“Mom! You’re embarrassing me in front of all my friends!,” I mentally shout.)—but as a whole it’s a fun time taking my mom to see one of her favorite bands (aka Keane or Coldplay).
For me, one of the best part of going to see a show with my mom is that unlike my regular concert companions, who like me go to shows on a weekly basis and are completely jaded/spoiled by it all, my mom is genuinely excited about nearly everything involving the concert. Her reaction reminds me a lot of what I was like as a teenager going to see Alanis Morissette at Jones Beach, or say Duncan Sheik at a Virgin Megastore Instore.
Mom gets really pumped up about going, often calling me up the night before to say that she “just can’t wait” for the show and that she’s been listening to the new album non-stop. And when she gets there she’s super interested in buying some of the merch so she can show it off to all her friends at work the next day. And forget about when the actual concert starts—Mom is literally jumping up and down and clapping her hands.
Crappy cellphone photo: There’s a band on stage, I swear.
So to say the least, my mom really really really enjoyed Keane’s performance tonight—and I’ll admit, I enjoyed quite a bit of it myself. As I’ve noted before, Keane fans are particularly excited about being at the show, as displayed by the eruption of thunderous cheers and applause that sprung up as soon as the lights went down and the band took the stage.
Wearing a silver zip jacket with a yellow tee, black jeans, and a Franz Ferdinand-worthy haircut, lead singer Tom Chaplin looked FANTASTIC–noticeably slimmer since the last time I saw him in 2006, just prior to his stint in drug and alcohol rehab. Despite his weight loss, he still had a full cherubic face that keeps him looking much younger than his 30 years.
From the get-go, Tom couldn’t help himself from gushing about how New York was one of the greatest cities on Earth and how their show at Radio City a few years back remained one of the greatest nights of their lives, then challenged the audience to blow that night “out of the water” by making this night’s concert the best ever.
The band churned out renditions of all their hits “Somewhere Only We Know,” “Is It Any Wonder?” (which Tom insisted was worthy of putting on “your dancing shoes”), “Bedshaped,” “Perfect Symmetry” (according to Tom, his favorite Keane song ever), and “Crystal Ball”—many of which featured Tom running up and down the stage and onto the side boxes, grandly sweeping his arms up and over in the air like a ringmaster revealing his latest act. The much-beloved Tom knee bend made a plethora of appearances, as well as some lying on the floor singing, and my personal favorite, the “I-kinda-gotta-go-to-the-bathroom” running in place that Tom gravitates to during songs like “Everybody’s Changing.”
Some highlights for me included a stripped down version of “Early Winter,” which was recorded by Gwen Stefani for her album The Sweet Escape, but written by Keane’s very own Tim Rice-Oxley, the very synthy, very ‘80s song “Spiraling” off the new album, and an acoustic solo version by Tom of “Playing Along.”
As the last stop on the US tour, Keane wanted to give an extra special something to the crowd, so they not only did they play an encore—they played two! The second one was a cover of the Queen/David Bowie song “Under Pressure,” which they originally covered for the 40th Anniversary cover project for the BBC’s Radio 1 in 2007.
Below is a video snippet of “Under Pressure” sung by Keane:
Another great thing about going with someone who wants to get the complete concert experience is that I got there super-early and managed to catch both opening acts, Mat Kearney and The Helio Sequence.
I was totally memorized by Mat Kearney’s set mainly for the reason that he sound SO MUCH like Chris Martin it’s unreal. It’s the same nasaly voice with delicate falsettos. I swear if I closed my eyes I would have thought it was Chris Martin singing a bunch of new songs. Musically Kearney actually does sound a bit like Coldplay, but mixed in with some good ol’ American style reminiscent of Tom Petty. My mom was pleased when Kearney closed his set with his song “Nothing Left to Lose,” which was used in the movie trailers for Catch and Release.